Local Initiative Program – Previously Funded Projects

The following are examples of projects which have been funded through the Local Initiative Program;

Family Alcohol Awareness booklet – Gippsland Lakes Community Health (2010)

This project was designed to address the issues raised at community consultations in Bairnsdale in 2008 and forms part of the East Gippsland Alcohol and other Drugs Action Plan 2008-2011.  The decision was made to develop a booklet similar to one developed and distributed to all parents of children 9 to 12 years of age in the UK city of County of Shropshire, in 2008 by the Shropshire County Council. Locally the project was run in two East Gippsland Primary schools, to assess responses from two different approaches. Bruthen Primary and Bairnsdale Primary schools agreed to be a part of the program.

The Schools had an exciting launch to the “Let’s Talk about Drink” project and combined it with a footy fun night for students and parents. Combining the launch with another activity in the school calendar helped to ensure a large number of parents attended. After some delicious food and an introduction to the parents the project facilitator gave a brief presentation outlining the purpose of the project together with its aims and objectives.

The classes completed a lot of research and produced some great charts and posters. Some of the activities undertaken included a visit to the local licensed general store to look at regulations, standard drink labels and different varieties of alcoholic drinks.   At the conclusion it was decided to combine the project with a Dad’s evening and invite all the Dads to attend with their children.  This was an opportunity for the dads to hear about what the students had learnt in undertaking the project, plus an opportunity for students to show their Dads around the school.

It is hoped that the awareness the students have gained from this project will assist them in making informed choices regarding alcohol as they move to secondary schooling.

Boys Reading Project – East Gippsland Library (2010)

This was a program focussing on developing boys interest in reading and literature.  Young male readers took part in sessions which involved inviting school aged children to the library for a book selection evening. The children were given the opportunity to choose stock to be added to the library’s collection. This was twofold with the children feeling more ownership of the library and they became more aware of the resources available to them. An extra bonus was pizza and drinks being available while the children discussed what type of books they liked.

The second part involved a number of workshops by author illustrator Adam Wallace which were offered to after school programs at Lakes Tyres Aboriginal Trust Homework Program, East Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House and the Bairnsdale Library. Workshops were run with schools in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Omeo, Swifts Creek, Bruthen and Tambo Upper.  Adam was chosen as he writes a genre of books that are appealing to boys.  The kids felt that Adam was fantastic because he was cool, young and wore clothes that were interesting.

The event attracted a lot of children who were not members of the library and this became the chance to demonstrate to them the different services the library has to offer.

Get Off the Block – School Holiday Program for East Bairnsdale – Gippsland Lakes Community Health (2011)

This project provided an innovative holiday program for East Bairnsdale children between the ages of 10-12 years that intended getting them “off the block” and have the experience of doing exciting things in the bush and on the beach. The two day activities were organised were Cape Conran beach taking part in surfing lessons and the second activity involved bike riding on local bike trails in neighbouring communities as well as an overnight horse riding camp. This was a complimentary program to the already existing holiday programs run by the East Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House who provide onsite activities.

East Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House identified this target group, observing the young people hanging around the streets with very little to do. East Bairnsdale is identified as a low socio economic area with many families experiencing social and economic barriers due to lack of transport, facilities and low incomes. The children have little or no access to their surrounding areas for leisure and recreational activities.

Outcomes of change were identified as:- children taking part in healthy outdoor activities while experiencing new and exciting pursuits. For many of these children it was the first time they had opportunity to connect with their natural environment. These endeavours improved their social and emotional wellbeing at the same time improving their health and development. This became evident when observing the children’s willingness to explore and experience the natural environment that isn’t accessible in their own neighbourhood.  Staff were delighted to observe both the enthusiasm of participants to embrace the activity as well as the laughter and general play interaction among the group.

The project provided time for the project  staff to work closely with neighbourhood house staff and their community connections and build on the principle of agencies working together to improve the early childhood health, development  and wellbeing.

The effect of the program was noticed when participants were still talking about their experiences four weeks afterwards. Parent’s feedback was very positive and gave the children from these families positive reflections to be able to refer to. One young man, who had been observed in the past to be socially isolated and lacking in skills to develop relationships with others, has made significant friends through the overnight camping experience.

Smiles for Miles – Resourcing Kid’s Smiles – Primary Care Partnerships (2011)

Smiles for Miles is an oral health promotion program that has specifically targeted remote, rural and disadvantaged children in the 0-5 age group. Through the program being developed in 2010 the partnership has identified that there was a severe lack of program resources to support oral health promotion programs across the catchment area.

A critical component to the success of Smiles 4 Miles was the parent engagement in the program. In order to achieve this, different resources were required to cater for indigenous and low literacy levels of some parents as well as children in different age groups. To be effective more resource boxes were needed to be able to cover the large geographic area. Ten children’s engagement boxes and 10 parent engagement boxes were developed and distributed across East Gippsland.

Our localised approach to Oral Health Promotion has formed links between agencies within the same communities/localities. This has in turn led to a greater cooperation and hopefully collaboration in working together to address oral health and healthy eating issues.

In all our five localities, settings are working together to deliver and support each other to deliver the key messages of Drink Well, Eat Well and Clean Well.

Circles for Life – East Gippsland Specialist School (2011)

The Circles Program is a tool which teaches social distance and levels of intimacy through the use of six colour coded concentric circles. This starts in the centre the purple circle private/self-graduating out to other colours representing behaviours, feelings, and appropriate feelings. This framework was very successful when used by the EGSS to work with students with an intellectual disability who are sometimes lacking skills in social awareness and safety issues.

This project has been a prime example of linking a small amount of money having a positive effect on the whole school and the broader community.

Teachers and parents feedback has been excellent siting several instances of students using this framework to show restraint towards others and this has led to a great improvement in social interactions with community.

Computer Outreach – 754 Primary School (2011)

Teachers and students identified that a number of families do not have access to computers at home. This project aims at improving access to computers for both children and families and helping parents understand the value of education. Families were offered the opportunity to free access to computers to gain a greater knowledge of what their children are learning at school and, through seeing them assisted with homework tasks, it was hoped that this support can be continued at home.

Although this project is still underway , Debra Herbertson – Principal of Bairnsdale Primary School was happy to provide the following update via email: -

  • The Smith Family were able to tap into a range of volunteers which supports this program.  The funding we gained from LIP allowed us to employ a coordinator as planned. The program is going well now and we have a steadily increasing group of students attending, this is being supported by parents who are coming along with their children to support their learning.
  • The other program we ran during term 2 was a Koori History Project. This encouraged some of our Koori families to work with the support of a family history buff, Linda Wilkinson, to research their family history using our Computers. The program saw 3 generations of family members working on this and we held a book launch on Friday, 1st of July, with our school community as part of our NAIDOC Day celebration. It was wonderful to see the pride. The other amazing thing was that some of these parents or grandparents are illiterate and used their children to assist in the program. Good affirmation for education!!
  • The third program we are now planning for is a computer program specifically for parents. We have been training up a retired teacher and he will offer some classes to parents (either during or after school).

The funding you approved has been invaluable in establishing these programs (I see it as a seeding grant), and I hope we can see such connections continue.

Everybody’s Different – Gippsland Community Health (2011)

Everybody’s Different (O’Dea, 2007) aims to improve the body image, eating attitudes and behaviours of young male and female adolescents by focusing on developing their self-esteem. Poor body image and poor eating habits had been identified by local teachers and community health workers e.g. the community dietician as being an issue. It was decided the target group would be grade six students at three primary schools within the Lakes Entrance area. This would be during school hours, with the community health service collaborating with teachers, children and families building connections between services and the community.

The community dietician and an allied health assistant attended each school and conducted the program which included a wide range of activities aimed at improving body image, eating attitudes and behaviours by developing self-esteem, self-identity and self-worth and decreasing the emphasis on physical appearance. The program examined physical activity and food choices before and after the program, and taught the children about nutrition in particular through various activities to build knowledge, self-esteem and behaviours. By the end of the program, the children were able to complete quizzes and matching games identifying nutrients, their food sources, and their functions in the body. It was encouraging to note that the number of children who reported that they drank soft drinks or energy drinks “often” or “all the time” reduced from 46 to 29 from the pre-program survey to “the post-program survey 8 weeks later. Weekly activities specifically aimed at developing self-esteem e.g. looking at what makes up a person and what people admire in others, identifying personal strengths, learning to accept yourself no matter what you look like formed the core of the program. Stereotypes, particularly in the media, were examined in detail and media literacy regarding body image and air brushing of images were taught.

Every Grade 6 child at school in Lakes Entrance/Toorloo Arm was reached in this program as it was embedded in the weekly timetable by each school. All families and all cultures evident in the local area were included. Classroom discussions regarding stereotyping of gender, family types and different cultures were held as a part of the program. By bringing members of GLCH’s Allied Health team into the schools, will hopefully raise awareness of GLCH’s services to all families. Some children from disadvantaged families attended school some days (rather than staying home) as they knew the program was on and enjoyed it.  Showing the children that the community health service and their schools work together on projects makes the health service more accessible. The 84 children, their families, and their teachers were the community members. Gippsland Lakes Community Health, Lakes Entrance Primary School, St Brendan’s Primary School, and Toorloo Arm Primary School were the institutions working together to improve the children’s health development and wellbeing.

 

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